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Mohair Vs Cashmere: Battle of the Fluffy Fibres Unravelled

mohair vs cashmere

Ah! The age old debate: mohair vs cashmere!

Mohair and cashmere are often seen as luxury items in the world of textiles. If you’ve ever had the privilege of wearing a piece of clothing made from these fabrics, you’ll know that they are incredibly soft and warm. But what exactly sets them apart, and which one should you choose for your next knitting project or coveted wardrobe addition?

The primary difference between mohair and cashmere lies in their source, softness, and price. Mohair comes from the Angora goat, whereas cashmere is obtained from the Kashmir goat.

In general, cashmere is considered the more luxurious of the two due to its finer and softer texture, as well as its higher price tag. Meanwhile, mohair is a more affordable alternative that still offers plenty of warmth and softness. To further understand these differences, we’ll dive deeper into the characteristics and origins of both fibers.

Originating from different goat breeds, mohair is predominantly produced in South Africa, while cashmere is mostly sourced from regions like China, Mongolia, and Iran. Both fibers offer unique benefits, with mohair being more durable and cashmere providing extra softness for sensitive skin or delicate garments.

As we explore the detailed distinction between these two luxurious materials, we’ll help you decide which one is the ideal choice for your specific needs and preferences.

Mohair vs Cashmere: Key Differences

Mohair vs Cashmere: Key Differences

AspectMohairCashmere
OriginDerived from the hair of Angora goats.Sourced from the undercoat of Cashmere goats.
TextureSoft, silky, and slightly lustrous.Extremely soft, luxurious, and lightweight.
WarmthGood insulating properties, warmer than regular wool.Exceptional insulating properties, warmer than mohair.
BreathabilityNaturally breathable, making it comfortable to wear.Highly breathable, providing great comfort.
DurabilityStrong and resilient, resists wrinkles and pilling.Less durable than mohair, prone to pilling.
ElasticityModerate elasticity, maintains its shape well.High elasticity, stretches and recovers shape easily.
Moisture-wickingGood moisture-wicking capabilities.Excellent moisture-wicking properties.
Dye RetentionAbsorbs dye well, producing vibrant and lasting colors.Holds dye well, resulting in rich and long-lasting colors.
CareHandwashing or gentle machine wash, lay flat to dry.Handwashing recommended, lay flat to dry.
PriceGenerally more affordable than cashmere.Considered a luxury fiber, typically more expensive.
Best ForSweaters, scarves, shawls, and upholstery.Sweaters, scarves, shawls, and other fine knitwear.

When it comes to luxurious, warm, and natural wools, mohair and cashmere stand tall among the rest. However, there are some key differences between these two fabulous fibres that make each unique in their own ways. Cashmere is often considered more opulent, being finer, softer, and more expensive than mohair.

Mohair originates from the Angora goat, while cashmere comes from the Kashmir goat. Another notable distinction is that South Africa boasts the largest mohair farms globally. Interestingly, these goats produce different types of wool due to their distinct breeds and environments.

Now, let’s dive into some specific characteristics of each wool:

Mohair:

angora goat mohair
  • lightweight, yet warm and cosy
  • a more affordable alternative to cashmere
  • known for its sheen and lustre, as well as its hypoallergenic properties
  • highly breathable and moisture-wicking; perfect for those winter adventures
  • often used in blankets, throws, and even some winter clothing

On the other hand, cashmere has some exquisite features of its own:

Cashmere:

cashmere
  • incredibly soft, delicate, and warm – making it ideal for sensitive skin
  • a more expensive option due to its scarcity and labour-intensive production process
  • often considered one of the finest natural wools available
  • versatile and stylish, used for high-end fashion items such as scarves, sweaters, and outerwear

Did you know that both mohair and cashmere are excellent eco-friendly choices? As natural fibres, they biodegrade over time and have a smaller ecological footprint compared to synthetic alternatives. 

However, it is essential to consider the ethical and sustainable practices of the brands you support to ensure minimal environmental impact.

In summary, while mohair and cashmere share some similarities in terms of warmth and luxury, they differ in their sources, textures, and price points. The choice between them depends on personal preferences and budgets. 

Just remember, regardless of which wool you choose, you can never go wrong with these exquisite natural fibres.

Source of the Hair

When discussing mohair vs cashmere, the first thing we need to address is where these fibres come from. Both are derived from goats, but they come from entirely different breeds, giving each fibre unique qualities that set them apart.

Angora Goat

Mohair originates from the Angora goat, which is known for its long, lustrous, and strong hair. These goats are named after the Turkish city of Ankara, formerly known as Angora. But, did you know that South Africa is currently the world’s largest producer of mohair, accounting for nearly half of the global supply?

These goats don’t only have an impressive hairstyle, but they also have a fascinating history, dating back to biblical times. In fact, their luxurious locks have been gracing our wardrobes for centuries!

cashmere goat

Cashmere Goat

On the other hand, cashmere comes from the fine undercoat of the Cashmere goat. These goats are named after the Kashmir region of India but are now commonly found in countries like China and Mongolia. The cashmere fibres are collected during the molting season by gently combing the goat’s undercoat, helping them stay cool during warmer months.

We bet you didn’t realise that you’d become an expert in goat glamour by learning about mohair and cashmere! But how do these fibres feel on the skin, and why do they hold such a luxurious reputation?

When it comes to softness, cashmere takes the crown. With a diameter of 12-16 microns, cashmere fibres are finer and thus softer than mohair, which boasts a slightly thicker texture.

Is your curiosity piqued at the mention of Angora goats and Cashmere goats? You may be wondering about Angora rabbits, another fibre-producing fluffy friend. But they’re an entirely different story, as their soft hair is used to create the luxurious Angora wool — a topic we’ll save for another day.

So, as we continue exploring the world of these magnificent fibres, it’s essential to consider their unique characteristics and why people rave about them in fashion and textiles. Buckle up, because this journey into mohair and cashmere has only just begun!

Harvesting Process

Shearing

When it comes to mohair, the luxurious fiber is harvested from Angora goats. These goats undergo a shearing process similar to how wool is collected from sheep. It’s worth noting that Angora goats have two shearing seasons: spring and autumn, ensuring a continuous supply of this beautiful fiber.

Harvesting Process

On the other hand, cashmere comes from the undercoat of Cashmere goats. Unlike mohair, the harvesting process for cashmere is a combination of shearing and combing. Shearing is typically performed on the topcoat, removing the coarse outer hairs to uncover the super-soft undercoat.

Did you know? Pashmina, another luxurious fiber, is also a type of cashmere! It’s derived from a specific breed of Cashmere goats found in the Himalayas.

Combing

As we mentioned earlier, combing plays a significant role in the cashmere harvesting process. The undercoat, which is the treasure trove of soft cashmere fibers, is gently combed out while keeping the animal’s comfort in mind. This delicate process helps to separate the fine, soft hairs from the coarse topcoat.

Fun fact: Cashmere goats typically grow their undercoat in the harsh winter months, providing a natural insulation against cold temperatures!

To summarise, both mohair and cashmere undergo shearing as part of the harvesting process, but cashmere also involves combing to separate the delicate undercoat fibers from the coarser topcoat hairs. And, while Angora goats have biannual shearing seasons, Cashmere goats produce the ultra-soft undercoat mainly during the chilly winter months.

In the next section, we’ll explore the fascinating and intricate world of fiber characteristics, and how these differences define the luxury of mohair and cashmere.

Properties of the Fibers

When it comes to comparing mohair and cashmere, the main difference between these two luxurious natural fibers lies in their properties, such as texture, fineness, and insulating properties. In this section, we will delve into the characteristics that truly set these fibers apart.

fibre properties

Texture and Fineness

One of the most significant factors in determining the difference between mohair and cashmere is their texture and fineness. Cashmere, being the undercoat of a Kashmir goat, boasts an incredibly fine and soft texture with a strand diameter of between 18 and 19 microns. No wonder it feels like you’re touching a cloud when you wrap yourself in a cashmere throw!

On the other hand, mohair, which comes from the Angora goat, is still soft and smooth but not quite as fine as cashmere. It’s the curls and silkiness of mohair that make it a popular choice for many products, such as scarves and sweaters. So, while mohair might not turn heads quite as much as cashmere, it does have its own distinct advantages in terms of texture.

Insulating Properties

When it comes to warmth and insulation, both mohair and cashmere have their unique strengths. Cashmere is known for its incredible insulating properties, offering those who wear it a cozy and comfortable experience. In fact, cashmere can insulate up to three times better than regular wool!

Mohair, on the other hand, also offers excellent insulation, but with the added benefit of moisture-wicking properties. This means it can effectively regulate your body temperature by keeping you warm when it’s cold, and cool when it’s warm outside. Moreover, mohair is stronger than cashmere, which contributes to its durability and long-lasting nature.

In the world of natural fibers, both mohair and cashmere have their unique benefits and characteristics that make them desirable for different reasons. While cashmere wows with its unparalleled softness and insulation, mohair offers a lovely balance of silkiness, strength, and moisture-wicking properties.

Whether you decide to invest in a cashmere sweater or a mohair blanket, you can be sure that you are choosing a luxurious and high-quality fiber that will add comfort and style to any wardrobe or living space.

Affordability

When it comes to mohair and cashmere, there’s no denying that both materials are luxurious and highly sought-after in the fashion industry. But what sets them apart in terms of affordability?

market and sourcing

Market and Sourcing

Cashmere is often considered the more opulent and expensive option compared to mohair. The main reason for this is the scarcity of cashmere wool produced by goats each year. A cashmere goat can produce about 200-300g of wool annually, whereas an angora goat (which produces mohair) can generate between 3.6-7 kg, making mohair more accessible and affordable in the market.

Production

Mohair production involves carding and combing the fibres, making them more durable, stain-resistant, and suitable for items like rugs and carpets. On the other hand, cashmere production requires more attention due to the finer quality of the fibres, leading to higher production costs. This adds to the overall expense of cashmere products.

Blends

Blended materials, such as cashmere and merino wool or mohair and alpaca, can help reduce costs while still offering a luxurious feel. For example, Uniqlo is known for producing cashmere sweaters with a blend of fibres, making these fashionable items more affordable to a wider audience.

In conclusion, while cashmere is typically considered more opulent and luxurious, mohair provides an excellent alternative for those seeking affordability without sacrificing quality. Blended fabrics can also offer more budget-friendly options while maintaining a luxurious feel.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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